The children are always watching : violence, distressed children, and signs of hope in the cinema of Michael Haneke

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Tate, Adam Wyatt

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This thesis is an analysis of director Michael Haneke’s theatrically-released films. Using a neoformalist approach, it is a dissection of how the director uniquely employs violence and child and youth characters in his films to critique society while looking for potential signs of hope. I argue that Haneke is a successor to those filmmakers who have taken violence to a new extreme in the cinema. However, Haneke has created a signature form of depicting violence in his films. I also argue that although Haneke typically places child characters in peril, a narrative facet that perhaps turns away some viewers, their placement in such scenarios serves to reflect his consistent view of a crumbling, insensitive society. Despite these representations of violence and children in peril, Haneke still finds places to infuse glimmers of hope in his narratives.



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